Well, it will also be up for a week or so after that, but tomorrow is the night with all the people and the free food. If y’all haven’t been to DAAPworks before, it’s DAAP’s senior show, and it’s actually got a lot of interesting work in the areas of transport, civic design, cartography, and architecture1.
My quick run through the building today, on my way to see the cranky ogres who run the plotting machines in the photo cave, dredged up at least five truly gorgeous maps, most of those local, and two of them definitely using OSM! It’s so rarely we get to see such pretty things. Here, to whet your desires, is a map from a DAAPworks of a couple years past, not my own, that I think is just incredible.
Like this one, a lot of the maps that are most beautiful don’t actually make much sense if you think about them too hard, or even a little. But such things, maps, landscapes, transit plans, buildings, are worth seeing, I think, because they remind us of the potential for grace and beauty in all things, good, bad, or nonsensical — and perhaps also of the excitement of the mind untamed by repetitive mental labor and cautious hedging.
I’ve just accepted an offer from the University of Toronto, where I’ll be starting this fall in the urban planning PhD program and studying there under the tutelage of one Dr. Steven Farber. (Incidentally, he’s the one who, over the winter, clued me in to the TTC’s real-time data feed, which is the actual reason I’ve been looking at the TTC so much here lately.)
So… at some point over the summer, I’ll be packing all of my things and crossing the border, that other side whereon I project to live for the next four years, a Canadian1.
In a causally unrelated, though certainly correlated and fortuitous movement, my current adviser, Dr. Michael Widener will also be starting there in the fall as a professor in the geography department, in which happens to be housed the planning program. Moving buddies! :-D
Just a little update on and reminder of an earlier post:
Come on down to the Macaron Bar tonight for Final Friday! My friend Ivan and I are having our first little gallery show! It’s a collaborative project, mapping out the abstract space defined by the ghostlike threads of 300+ transit GPS transponders as they trace their way around the city for a single day.
A quick and dirty cell-phone capture of a really nice looking piece.
Some of the smaller pieces start at $20 and could make a lovely little souvenir. We hope you’ll come by tonight (and I also strongly recommend the Minumentals show at the AAC tonight [and their open bar]), but the pieces should also be hanging for the next few weeks, so you can come by later if you don’t make it.
The data is structured according to the GTFS real-time specification. I was able to parse it pretty easily in Python by following the instructions on that page. The fields currently included in the feed (many are optional in the specification) are as follows.
The feeds update every 30 seconds, which seems a little slow, but oh well.
Right now, my understanding is that these feeds have been tentatively released as-is for developers only, and that SORTA is not ready yet to make a general public announcement that real-time data is available. Tim Harrington at SORTA, who shared the links with us, has politely asked to see the neat stuff that we’re able to develop with this data. I imagine that the sooner someone sends him a link to a decent, working app, the sooner they’ll give us the go-ahead and the sooner we’ll all be able to use this data in every-day situations.
So who’s gonna make an app? There must be a dozen open-source applications that are already designed to work with GTFS-realtime. We probably just need to plug this feed in and maybe make a few localization tweaks. If you or anyone you know has the skills and/or interest to make an app…then for the love of transit, let’s make this happen ASAP!